In this exploration of our violent society and how depictions of violence reflect and shape our culture, a middle-class family submits both physically and mentally to the torture, violence, and death foisted upon them by two young, unexpected, white-gloved visitors at their vacation retreat near a lake.
Michael Haneke is a modern master, which his spellbinding films Cache
and The Piano Teacher
proved to an international audience. When it came time for a Hollywood remake of his ultra-disturbing 1997 picture Funny Games
, who better than Haneke himself to helm the new version? And indeed, the second Funny Games
bears the impeccable sense of control and technique that the Austrian version had: it is a horrifyingly precise account of a family terrorized by two psychopathic young thugs at a vacation home. For anyone who's already seen the '97 film, this new one--a nearly shot-by-shot transcription of the original--will seem superfluous, no matter how impressive the performances of Naomi Watts and Tim Roth are. (Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet are suitably creepy as their menacers, too.) For newbies, the movie might be as infuriating and thought-provoking as Haneke intends it to be. That's because Funny Games
is an intellectual game itself, a direct rebuke to the audience that gobbles up gratuitous violence and cynical manipulation. Haneke sets up our expectations, and then refuses to provide the conventional catharsis... or the conventional anything. All of this was pretty bracing in the first go-round, but feels like gamesmanship in the remake. Even if you dig what Haneke's up to, this is a brutal movie-watching experience. --Robert Horton
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.